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Though much remains unknown about the novel COVID-19 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently states that the viral disease is most frequently transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes within about six feet of close contacts.
After returning home from work, stores or other public places, there’s no need to change clothes entirely to fight the spread of the viral disease, former CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Amler told Fox News.
“Common sense suggests to me that this seems extreme,” Amler said in a recent Q&A session. “Your clothes are not going to be an important source of exposure, unless someone sick has had a lot of contact with those clothes – sneezed or coughed on them, or worn them for a period of time when they were sick.
“Clothes generally are not a source of exposure to this virus,” he added.
As for managing laundry during the ongoing outbreak, the CDC advises that households with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 follow these instructions when cleaning clothes, linens, towels and other items that go in the wash:
- Wear gloves when touching a sick person’s laundry. Disposable gloves should be discarded after each use, while reusable gloves should not be used for purposes beyond disinfecting and cleaning surfaces of COVID-19.
- Don’t shake out dirty laundry. This reduces the possibility of the virus dispersing through the air.
- You can wash a sick person’s laundry with other items. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when washing laundry, and use “the warmest appropriate water setting” for the items if possible, the CDC said. Then, dry items completely.
- Keep hands clean. Wash hands immediately after taking off gloves. If you’re not using gloves when handling the dirty laundry, properly wash hands afterwards.
- Keep hampers clean. After putting laundry away, clean and disinfect hampers following standard CDC guidance for cleaning surfaces. Regarding sanitary transport, consider using a disposable bag liner or a reusable bag liner that can be washed.